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Unformatted text preview: Good Night, Mr. Tom Michelle Magorian Meeting "Yes," said Tom bluntly, on opening the front door. "What d'you want?" A harassed middle-aged woman in a green coat and felt hat stood on his step. He glanced at the armband on her sleeve. She gave him an awkward smile. "I'm the Billeting Officer for this area," she began. "Oh yes, and what's that got to do wi' me?" She flushed slightly. "Well, Mr., Mr. . . ." "Oakley. Thomas Oakley." "Ah, thank you, Mr. Oakley." She paused and took a deep breath. "Mr. Oakley, with the declaration of war imminent . . ." Tom waved his hand. "I knows all that. Git to the point. What d'you want?" He noticed a small boy at her side. "It's him I've come about," she said. "I'm on my way to your village hall with the others." "What others?" She stepped to one side. Behind the large iron gate that stood at the end of the graveyard was a small group of children. Many of them were filthy and very poorly clad. Only a handful had a blazer or coat. They all looked bewildered and exhausted. The woman touched the boy at her side and pushed him forward. "There's no need to tell me," said Tom. "It's obligatory and it's for the war effort." "You are entitled to choose your child, I know," began the woman apologetically. Tom gave a snort. "But," she continued, "his mother wants him to be with someone who's religious or near a church. She was quite adamant. Said she would only let him be evacuated if he was." "Was what?" asked Tom impatiently. "Near a church." Tom took a second look at the child. The boy was thin and sickly looking, pale with limp sandy hair and dull gray eyes. "His name's Willie," said the woman. Willie, who had been staring at the ground, looked up. Round his neck, hanging from a piece of string, was a cardboard label. It read "William Beech." Tom was well into his sixties, a healthy, robust, stockily built man with a head of thick white hair. Although he was of average height, in Willie's eyes he was a towering giant with skin like coarse, wrinkled brown paper and a voice like thunder. He glared at Willie. "You'd best come in," he said abruptly. The woman gave a relieved smile. "Thank you so much," she said, and she backed quickly away and hurried down the tiny path towards the other children. Willie watched her go. "Come on in," repeated Tom harshly. "I ent got all day." Nervously, Willie followed him into a dark hallway. It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust from the brilliant sunshine he had left to the comparative darkness of the cottage. He could just make out the shapes of a few coats hanging on some wooden pegs and two pairs of boots standing below. "S'pose you'd best know where to put yer things," muttered Tom, looking up at the coat rack and then down at Willie. He scratched his head. "Bit 'igh fer you. I'd best put in a low peg." He opened a door on his left and walked into the front room, leaving Willie in the hallway still clutching his brown carrier bag. Through the half-open door he could see a large black still clutching his brown carrier bag....
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2011 for the course ENGLISH LI 067 taught by Professor Erden during the Fall '11 term at Halmstad.
- Fall '11